Like its Southern counterpart, Korean fried chicken is not all alike. If you don’t believe me, drive to Annandale and first sample Cheogajip’s take on Far Eastern KFC, a plate of fried bird parts whose crispy, fiery strengths don’t begin to outweigh its gloppy, oversauced faults. Then head to another chain, Bon Chon Chicken (but order ahead so you don’t have to suffer through the wait), and tear into a drumstick like no other. The first thing you notice about Bon Chon’s tiny legs and wings are their skins, as thin and crisp as wafers. The second thing you notice is the small air pocket between skin and flesh, a space often filled with the fat of poorly fried birds. Where’s the fat? Rendered into the fully cooked flesh, as moist and flavorful as anything Paula Deen has soaked in buttermilk for 8 hours. Just as important, the sauce, whether soy-garlic or hot, is absorbed into the skin, leaving the exterior as smooth as a deep-fried spring roll’s. Your first bite of Bon Chon chicken will force you to re-evaluate the Colonel’s birds with a very critical eye, indeed.
6653 Little River Turnpike, Annandale (703) 750-1424
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